Turkey Creek Medical Center first in state to use Fluorescence Imaging

Robotic Surgical Procedure Uses Groundbreaking New Technology

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE (Jan. 13, 2012) A groundbreaking robotic surgical procedure was performed at Turkey Creek Medical Center last week on a Maynardville man. Recognized as a leader in robotic surgery, Turkey Creek Medical Center is the first facility in Tennessee to offer this new technology called fluorescence imaging.

Fluorescence imaging used in the da Vinci Si ® Surgical System offers the capability of providing real-time, image guided identification of key anatomical landmarks using near-infrared technology.  Fluorescence imaging allows surgeons to see and assess anatomy better than the naked eye, further enhancing the unmatched vision, precision and control of minimally invasive da Vinci ® surgery.

“The magnified, three-dimensional view enables me to perform precise surgery in complex procedures through small surgical incisions,” said Chris Ramsey, MD, with Urology Consultants of Knoxville, P.C. “The da Vinci Si ® will follow any movement that your wrists, hands or fingers will perform and actually has more range of motion than the human hand and wrist,” he said.

Dr. Ramsey performed the partial nephrectomy last week using fluorescence imaging on Roger Lay, 57, of Maynardville. Lay’s surgery was a success and he is resting comfortably at home after an overnight hospital stay.

“I’m doing better every day and am very thankful to still have both kidneys,” said Lay. “I was very anxious about not only the cancer, but undergoing surgery. This technology is amazing! I remember being wheeled into the operating room, seeing the robotic equipment and thinking about the movie ‘The Transformers’!  I hope other patients will benefit from this and their minds will be at ease.”

Dr. Ramsey is among a very small select group of surgeons in the world and the first in Tennessee to utilize this technology to date. Dr. Ramsey was assisted by his colleague Katherine Cameron, MD.

The enhanced imaging guidance system incorporates a green colored dye called IndoCyanine Green (ICG) and was utilized for identification of the renal vessels and for selective arterial clamping during kidney sparing surgery. The specially designed camera and endoscopes allow surgeons to capture images of tissue and surrounding blood vessels by injecting a unique fluorescence dye that is activated by near-infrared light. In addition to standard real-time images of the surgical field, the camera can switch to view the images of tissue and surrounding blood vessels illuminated by the special dye when exposed to the near-infrared light. The use of the technology also allows surgeons to differentiate between malignant and normal tissue in real time as cancerous tissue stains less brightly than normal kidney cells.

Surgeons from Knoxville Urology Clinic, P.C. are also trained on the da Vinci Si ® Surgical System and will be performing procedures at Turkey Creek Medical Center. “Fluorescence imaging combined with the three-dimensional HD camera allows for real time identification of the vascular anatomy in relation to kidney tumors,” said Garrett Lischer, MD.  “As a result, we will be able to clamp off a segmental artery to the kidney tumor and avoid cutting off any blood flow to the remainder of the normal kidney. In essence, this will allow us to perform meticulous and precise dissection of tumors while avoiding ischemia to the kidney and avoiding long term damage to the healthy tissue.” 

This is a major advancement for the hospital, where the robotic surgical platform is currently used for minimally-invasive surgery across multi – specialties. Turkey Creek Medical Center is the first hospital in the state to acquire this new technology, and one of only 60 hospitals in the country, which just became available in February 2011. Turkey Creek Medical Center is also the first non-academic hospital in the region with simulation for training surgeons and the first in the region to utilize multiple da Vinci ® robots.

“We are very excited about making this new robotic technology available to our surgeons,” said Lance Jones, CEO of Turkey Creek Medical Center. “The advantages it will offer to their patients are extraordinary.  This advancement is just one example of the medical innovations Tennova Healthcare is making available to our medical staff and to the East Tennessee community.

The da Vinci Si ® surgical system will be demonstrated by physicians at a Farragut Chamber of Commerce Networking Event on Thursday, January 19 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at Turkey Creek Medical Center, 10820 Parkside Drive, in the Women’s Pavilion lobby. To RSVP call (865) 675-7057.